Vest Pocket Kodak / 16 x 16 / oil on canvas, a little video of my process. Swipe ➡️ to see some details and an old ad for the camera from a century ago, it’s being handed off to a WWI soldier.
The big red Acorn gum machine’s little blue brother. As I have lamented before, I wish everyone looking at this on their screen could see it in person. The colour, the detail the subtle texture of the painted surface, all these vanish and flatten with the backlighting of the device you’re viewing.
I traveled to New York to attend the opening reception at the George Billis Gallery for my current exhibition. My son came along for a few days of site seeing. He turned 15 on the day of the reception and I’m glad to say both he and I had a great time.
Receptions, for me, can be a bit of a nerve rattling experience. As a studio painter I spend all of my time in solitude and concentration. Focussing on square inch by square inch on each painting. This is, of course, exactly how I want it. It’s why I’m able to make as much work as I do. I like working toward the deadline of a gallery exhibition. It gives me something to aim towards.
So after spending so much time alone with each painting, it can be an exhilarating experience to see them hanging and lit in a large gallery space. I am especially proud of the way this exhibition turned out. But it can feel a bit exposing for there to suddenly be dozens of people looking so closely. These paintings invite this close scrutiny.
The best part about the receptions is connecting with people who make it a point to come see the paintings in person. I always say that I wish everyone could see them in their natural habitat instead of on a phone, tablet or computer screen.
In 2009 I painted this big red Acorn gum machine – so it was time to visit it again. My motive to paint this is obvious – it’s a beautiful thing to behold. Also, Wayne Thiebuad painted gum machines and he’s an inspiration.
I’m more confident with details and relaxed with the time that it takes to focus. In 2009 I intentionally only painted a few gumballs. There is also the darker atmosphere. I have a much brighter studio now and the result shows in the paintings.
At once these paintings are both simple and complex – like a metaphor for all things in life.